I’ve recently discovered Jude Knight. What genre does she write, you say? Well, she doesn’t write straightline genre. I was glad to find someone else, besides me and Diana Gabaldon, who does the same. She’s recently released A Raging Madness, a historical romantic suspense, but…I won’t try to box her writing into a category. You decide!
Over to Jude! Here she is!
I write the type of novel that I like to read, with strong determined heroines, heroes that almost deserve them, and villains who are more than paper cut-outs. I like complex plots with real issues at stake, and I enjoy a sense of the rich tapestry of life, with characters galore. I’m a history addict, so most of stories are set in the past, and historical details colour the background, characters, and conversation.
And, though my novels and novellas are stand-alone, I have created a fictional worlds that I revisit time and again, where we meet characters we’ve known before from other books, even those not in a series.
The complaints began before I finished my first novel, Farewell to Kindness. I had a few critiques from book industry people that suggested I was skirting too near to the edges of the historical romance genre. I should remove the villains’ POV chapters. I should simplify the plot. I should soften the heroine, who starts the book by threatening to shoot someone. I should remove some of the action and add in more about the romance. I should move the meeting of the hero and heroine closer to the front of the book. I should remove the two secondary romances, the heroine’s older sister, and a number of other characters. And I certainly shouldn’t kill one of my sympathetic characters.
These critiques were kindly meant. My advisers wanted me to write a book that would sell. Writers need readers. The story isn’t just the one I tell; it’s the one you hear, and until you hear it, it doesn’t live.
I didn’t ignore them. I tightened my writing a lot. I did remove some characters and ‘unnamed’ others to make them less distracting. But I didn’t completely rewrite my book, either. The book these advisers wanted me to tell could have been written by any competent writer. It wasn’t one I could throw a year of my life at.
Since I launched Farewell to Kindness two years ago, I’ve sold just under 2,000 copies, which is not terrible for a first book. I’ve found readers who’ve gone on to read my other books. I love that they’ve enjoyed the book, and cried in the right places, and argued over whether the hero’s cousin is an arrogant so-and-so, and written me some wonderful reviews. I have a four star plus average rating on Goodreads, and higher on Amazon and I get comments like:
Could barely wait for it—and it didn’t disappoint.
I’m not sure where Jude Knight keeps coming up with the ideas for her books, but I am so glad that she does. Each one is unique and different.
I’ve been in a rut of romance novels always having the same story line-ish plot… This one is a little different which is good.
Maybe my audience is relatively small, and a different book may have reached more readers. But this is my book, and I love it. I’ve gone on to write three more novels, as well as a number of novellas and short stories. The novellas fit more tidily inside genre expectations than the novels, but I experiment even with them.
I keep seeing advice on how tailor books for the market. Which is fine if that’s what you want to do. But I’m no longer a young woman. I don’t have time to write books that don’t absorb me. If I let others shape my writing I might be mildly successful but dissatisfied.
The thing is, ‘the industry’ inevitably plays it safe by doing what has worked, and therefore is doomed to playing catch up when readers follow something new and different. Maybe, they’ll follow me, and maybe they won’t. But if I write what I want to write, I will be satisfied, and if people like it they’ll need to come to me to get it
A Raging Madness
~Their marriage is a fiction. Their enemies are all too real.~
Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.
Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him.
In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.
Jude is giving away a free ecopy of each of the other Redepenning stories to a random commenter: Candle’s Christmas Chair and Gingerbread Bride (novellas) and Farewell to Kindness, so leave your thoughts below! She’s ken to answer!
Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.
She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.
A Raging Madness, encompassing regency romance, historical romance, historical suspense, regency noir and gothic, was released 9 May and is rated PG-13, 382 pages on Kindle.